PSI appeals to governments around the world to mark the occasion by making a commitment to ratify UN Conventions aimed at strengthening the rights of migrant workers.
Ottawa (15 Dec. 2010) - Public Services International (PSI) is challenging governments around the world to honour Dec. 18 - International Migrants Day - by making a commitment to ratify United Nations (UN) Conventions aimed at strengthening the rights of migrant workers.
PSI says an estimated 215 million people now live and work outside their countries of birth. Nearly half of them are women working to support their families and communities back home.
Despite the huge contribution migrant workers bring to their host and home countries (an estimated $315 billion annually in services, taxes and remittances) many nations are not living up to UN obligations they have made to protect the rights of migrant workers, PSI says.
"This year marks the 20th anniversary of the UN General Assembly adoption of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families," the organization notes.
"The UN Migrant Workers' Convention, together with the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Migrant Workers Conventions, C97 and C143, offer the most comprehensive body of human rights norms and standards in the protection of migrant workers' rights."
Peter Waldorff, PSI's general secretary, says the slowness of many countries in ratifying these core human rights instruments and labour standards is a matter of great concern.
"There is virtually no country in this world that does not depend on migrant workers to address their workforce needs," he notes. "We particularly challenge destination countries of migrant workers to ratify the Conventions and to do it now."
PSI says there is an estimated global shortage of 4.3 million health workers and the problem is made worse by the fact that the supply of existing health care workers is unevenly distributed between developing and industrialized countries.
These shortages are further exacerbated by the migration of health workers from poorer countries. In countries where public health services are already fragile, this poses a serious threat to people's welfare and may effectively hinder sustainable development, PSI adds.
"If governments are indeed serious in addressing the developmental impact of migration as well as migration's contribution to development, they should begin by anchoring their policies on the framework of human rights," says Waldorff.
PSI represents 20 million workers involved in the delivery of public services. About seven million workers affiliated to PSI work in the health and social care services. Both sectors are experiencing an increasing phenomenon of migration.
PSI is a global trade union federation that represents 20 million women and men working in the public services around the world. It has 650 affiliated unions in 148 countries and territories.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE